Can America Be Fixed?
08/01/2013 5 comentarios
(…..) Political scientist Samuel Huntington, the author of the section on United States in the Trilateral Commission’s 1975 report, used to say that it was important for a country to worry about decline, because only then would it make the changes necessary to belie the gloomy predictions. If not for fear of Sputnik, the United States would never have galvanized its scientific establishment, funded NASA, and raced to the moon. Perhaps a sort of response to today’s challenges is just around the corner, perhaps Washington will be able to summon the will to pass major, far-reaching policy initiatives over the next few years, putting United States back on clear path to a vibrant, solvent future. But hope is not a plan, it has to be said that at this point, such an outcome seems unlikely. The absence of such moves will hardly spell country’s doom. Liberal democratic capitalism is clearly the only system that has the flexibility and legitimacy to endure in the modern world. If any regimes collapse in the decades ahead, they will be command systems, such as the one in China (although this is unlikely). But it is hard to see how the derailing of China’s rise, were it to happen, would solve any of the problems the United States faces, and in fact, it might make them worse, if it meant global economy would grow at a slower pace than anticipated. The danger for the Western democracies is not death but sclerosis. Daunting challenges they face, budgetary pressures, the political paralysis, a demographic stress, point to slow growth rather than collapse. Muddling through the crisis will mean that these countries stay rich but slowly and steadily drift to the margins of the world. Quarrels over how to divide a smaller pie may spark some political conflict and turmoil but will produce mostly resignation to a less energetic, interesting, productive future. There once was an advanced industrial democracy that could not reform. It went from dominating the world economy to growing for two decades at the anemic average rate of just 0.8%. Many members of its aging, well-educated population continued to live pleasant lives, but they left increasingly barren legacy for future generations. Its debt burden is staggering, and its per capita income has dropped to 24th in the world and is falling. If the Americans and the Europeans fail to get their acts together, their future will be easy to see. All they have to do is look at Japan.